Week 3

wk 3 asssignment Tyack & Cuban-3


Assignment for September 18th: What’s involved in change?


Tyack, D. & Cuban, L. (1995). Tinkering toward utopia: A century of public school reform. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Chapters 1-4.


Kober, N. & Usher, A. (2012). A public education primer. Washington D.C.: Center on Education Policy.

Hatch, T. (2009). “It takes capacity to build capacity” & “Changing conditions, changing times.” Chapters 1 & 2 from Managing To Change: How schools can survive (and sometimes thrive) in turbulent times. New York: Teachers College Press.

So Much Hype, So Little Mindfulness: The Practical Importance of Knowing the Logic of a Reform-Driven Policy,” http://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/so-much-hype-so-little-mindfulness-the-practical-importance-of-knowing-the-logic-of-a-reform-driven-policy/


As you read, please note some key terms and ideas that Tyack and Cuban (T&C) use including: the grammar of schooling, policy elites, policy churn, “real school,” “incremental” vs. “radical” change; “how schools change reforms.” You may want to come back and revisit some of these terms after an initial reading, and, if you want, try to define in a sentence or two what they mean to you.

In addition, please pay special attention to T & C’s discussions of the Carnegie Unit, kindergarten, Junior High School, the Dalton Plan, the proposals that were the focus of the 8-year study, and the Schools of Tomorrow. How do they explain why some of these initiatives were sustained and the others were not? (Not to spoil the suspense, but the terms/ideas above are a key part of their analysis…).

As you did last week, please continue to identify one or two key concepts/ideas that you think are particularly important for school designers to keep in mind, and jot down any ideas/concepts etc. that you think need further clarification and/or any major questions the work raises for you.

In class, we will divide into “working groups,” with each group exploring one or two key questions related to the readings and/or recent class discussions. To facilitate discussion each group will be asked to produce a google doc that includes:

  1. A few key issues/concepts/ideas from the readings that they think are particularly important for school designers to keep in mind
  2. Any ideas/concepts etc. that they think need further clarification
  3. A brief (2-3 sentence) summary of their discussion that addresses one (or more) of the questions they explored.
  4. One or two questions related to the readings or our recent discussions that they would like to discuss further (these do not have to be new questions, they can be questions that have already been listed)

(Note: We changed the plans originally described in the syllabus so we are not asking for students to volunteer to be discussion leaders each week; however we do expect that over the course of the semester, students will share the responsibility for facilitating discussions, adding to the google doc etc.)

Lastly, please look over the reform critique assignment and begin thinking about an organizational improvement effort that you have experienced that you could examine in depth. If you haven’t experienced an organizational improvement effort, please begin to think about a policy or program that you would like to critique.



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